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Japan challenges China, approves record defence budget

Japan has increased its defence budget with hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signing off a record 5.13 trillion yen (£35.2bn, $43.6bn) for military spending  for the fiscal year  starting 1 April 2017 .

This has been done in the face of territorial disputes with China and regional tensions arising out of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

As the new combat scenario has emerged of not getting directly involved  into the war theatre from a close proximity, Japan concentrates military spending on fighter jets ,submarines with a separate coastguard budget .Abe revised Japan’s pacifist post-war defence posture  by allowing its troops for collective self-defence .

To play bigger roles in East and Southeast Asia  because of disputes with China on South China Sea islands , Abe has specifically focused on Coastguard budget  to increase security around the disputed islands by allocating a record 210 billion yen that includes patrol ships and 200 additional personnel .

With China challenging the regional order by aggressively flexing its maritime military might and asserting sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea .And with US President elect Donald Trump asking Japan to acquire nuclear assets  to safeguard their interests and to foot their own bills for defence. Japan having increased its military expenditure is also playing out smart diplomacy by boosting defence ties with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations which are also claimants to the islands in the South China Sea.

Moreover with rising global military expenditure, France and Australia signed an agreement to build the world’s largest diesel-electric version of the Barracuda-class nuclear submarines in the Australian town of Adelaide worth 56 billion Australian dollar.

This phenomenon of enhancing defence budgets will continue in view of high tensions among big powers , geopolitical instability and terror threat from Islamic world , India spent $50.6 billion in 2016  on defense surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia  to move into fourth place in the global charts.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali Senior Journalist

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